International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) 

Vo. 6, (2023). Published April 16, 2023. 

DOI: 10.54208/1000/0006/004

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Jesus Built My Strawman: The Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International and “minister” Edward Jay Robin Belanger

Donald J. Netolitzky, PhD, K.C. 


The Canada-based Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International [CERI] falsely purports to be a community of strict King James Bible literalists. CERI’s religious claims are a strategic mask for the “church’s” true nature and objectives. CERI is a “legal cult,” a group organized around a central guru figure: “minister” Edward Jay Robin Belanger. This fake church’s doctrine combines stereotypic pseudolaw concepts derived from the US Sovereign Citizen movement, conspiratorial anti-government and anti-Semitic beliefs, with passages from the 1611 King James Bible. CERI and Belanger make no faith-based promises, but, instead, claim that a combination of esoteric paperwork, proclamations of Christian status, and demands for international treaty-based religious accommodation, grants CERI’s members special and extraordinary advantages (e.g., to defy and neutralize government authority, eliminate debts, and escape sanction for criminal misconduct).

This study investigates CERI and Belanger’s nearly 25-year history of pseudolaw and criminal activity, using 21 Canadian legal proceedings conducted between 2009 2019 to develop a profile of CERI’s followers, CERI litigation tactics, and to explore the usually short-lived relationships between Belanger and his followers. CERI is the most aggressive and litigious Canadian pseudolaw group, but CERI adherents and Belanger consistently fail in court. CERI and Belanger are relevant to the developing

understanding of the broader social impact and operation of pseudolaw, as an example of a long-duration but small population group. While many pseudolaw groups are true social communities, CERI functions primarily as a parasite/host pairing, where Belanger exploits those who adopt CERI strategies. This legal cult of personality operates chiefly within the broader Canadian pseudolaw ecosystem, but in a marginal, though remarkably persistent, manner.